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Lifeskills South Florida Staff

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Lifeskills South Florida Staff2020-08-01T03:28:13+00:00

Lifeskills South Florida Staff Overview

All Team

Leadership

Klay Weaver, LCSW

Klay Weaver, LCSW

Chief Executive Officer

With over 25 years of behavioral healthcare management experience, including over 18 years in executive leadership, Klay joined Lifeskills South Florida in 2015 as its Chief Executive Officer. Prior to joining Lifeskills, he served as the COO of Skyland Trail, where he oversaw the organization’s strategic growth, financial operations, clinical operations, and marketing. With roots in community mental health, Klay led two of the largest community mental health centers in the state of Georgia, providing services to over 17,000 individuals annually in 11 counties.

Klay received a Bachelor of Arts in Education and an M.Div. from Asbury Theological Seminary and an M.S.W. from the University of Kentucky. A licensed social worker for more than 20 years, he has enjoyed being active in the community serving on multiple non-profit boards including the Red Cross, Georgia Community Service Board Association, and most recently on the Delray Drug Task Force.

Daniel Bober, DO

Daniel Bober, DO

Medical Director

Dr. Bober attended medical school at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his adult/child/adolescent psychiatry training at the Yale University School of Medicine and a fellowship in forensic psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine.

Dr. Bober served as a mental health policy fellow in the U.S. Senate through the American Psychiatric Association and the Yale University School of Medicine. While in Congress he championed the cause of veterans and active duty service members with mental illness. Dr. Bober currently holds a faculty appointment as an Assistant Clinical Professor at the Yale Child Study Center.

In treating adults, Dr. Bober’s clinical interest and expertise lay in working with individuals that have addiction, trauma and personality disorders. His is career has afforded him the opportunity to treat co-occurring disorders in inpatient, outpatient and research settings.

He is Board Certified in General Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Forensic Psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and he is certified in Obesity Medicine through the American Board of Obesity Medicine. Additionally, as a Diplomate of the American Board of Addiction Medicine, Dr. Bober is a Certified Addiction Medicine physician. He belongs to several professional societies including American Psychiatric Association, American Academy of Child, and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law and the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

DrBober.com

Sandra Prevost

Sandra Prevost

Human Resources Manager

Sandra comes to Lifeskills with over 15 years of experience in the field. Most recently, Sandra led the Human Resources function for a South Florida treatment center, supporting more than 500 employees. There she helped in the successful completion of Joint Commission Accreditation, as well as, all audits by the Department of Child and Family Services for three Florida locations and two locations in New Jersey. Sandra most enjoys employee relations and engagement. She is customer service oriented and takes pride in taking care of people who take care of the company and clients. Sandra holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree from NYIT and a Certification in Human Resource Management.

Admissions

Sergio Muriel

Sergio Muriel

Admissions Director

Sergio is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, a Certified Addiction Professional, and is trained in EMDR. He has worked in the field of substance use and mental health for over 17 years. Sergio graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a master’s degree in Education, specializing in mental health and rehabilitation counseling. He is also a member of the Golden Key Honor Society. Throughout his career, Sergio has received several recognitions, including Sierra Tucson’s “Gratitude for Giving, Compassion Award” in 2016; “Above & Beyond” Award from Elements Behavioral Health in 2015; “Employee of the Year” from Miami-Dade County in 2007; “Appreciation Award”, Lindsey Hopkins Education Center-School Advisory Council in 2010; and “Appreciation Award”, Miami-Dade County, Mayor and Board of County Commissioners in 2009.

His passion and vision include helping individuals and families that have been affected by the disease of addiction and mental health. Having served in previous roles as Executive VP of Clinical Services, Executive Director, Admissions Director, Assistant Clinical Director, Primary Therapist, Judicial Services Coordinator, Family Therapist, and BHT Supervisor, Sergio brings extensive experience to his position. He is also fluent in English and Spanish.

Lara Eisenberg, MSW

Lara Eisenberg, MSW

Clinical Admissions Coordinator

For several years, Lara worked in a treatment setting with adults suffering from mental health and substance abuse dependency issues. Shortly after beginning her career at Lifeskills as a clinical intern, she was introduced to the clinical and admissions team. Her work at Lifeskills allows her the opportunity to work with clients and witness the transformation they make and the strength they have as they journey to recovery. Lara received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Florida followed by her Master of Social Work degree from Florida Atlantic University. She is also intensively trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy by The Linehan Institute. Lara looks to continue working in the field of Social Work and receiving her license as a Clinical Social Worker.

Bo Varga, MS

Bo Varga, MS

Clinical Admissions Coordinator

During Boglarka’s (Bo) year-long internship with Lifeskills in the Family Department, she served as a co-facilitator for the Intensive Family Weekend Workshop. Her experience also includes working with court-ordered cases, clients with addiction, mental health, and dual diagnoses. Bo has experience in and a passion for intervening and supporting clients and their families throughout difficult transitions. She is a graduate of Nova Southeastern University with a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Bo is driven to secure the best possible care for clients and to witness their success. She is also a fluent speaker of Hungarian.

Clinical

David Ockman, PsyD, CAP

David Ockman, PsyD, CAP

Clinical Director

Dr. Ockman, a licensed Psychologist, and Certified Addictions Professional, has worked in the field of mental health and addiction for more than 20 years, beginning his career in 1993. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Florida International University, a Masters and Doctoral degrees from The Miami Institute of Psychology, and has been licensed as a Psychologist since 2002.

Dr. Ockman brings a broad range of experiences to his role at Lifeskills South Florida focused primarily on the Substance Use Disorder track which includes clinical, supervisory and administrative capacities in therapeutic/residential communities, hospital settings, IOP and state regulatory positions. He has spent most of his career utilizing CBT and MET modalities and finding ways to provide the most effective interventions for patients and their families.

Dr. Ockman spent seven years as one of the supervising Psychologists of interns and residents for an APPIC approved program. He was born and raised in South Florida and enjoys finding great places in Florida to take the family.

Krista Valz, PsyD

Krista Valz, PsyD

Associate Clinical Director

Dr. Valz is a licensed clinical psychologist and earned her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Her training has included individual and group work in a variety of settings including psychiatric care, outpatient mental health centers and residential levels of care. She completed her pre-doctoral internship at South Florida Evaluation and Treatment Center where her clinical focus was forensic psychology and worked at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, FL with a clinical concentration on neuropsychological testing. Dr. Valz is trained in Cognitive Remediation Therapy. At Lifeskills, she facilitates specialized groups for clients diagnosed with bipolar and psychotic disorders, schizoaffective disorder, and schizophrenia at both the residential and outpatient levels of care.

Kettly Lemaistre, MSN, FNP, BSN, RN, PTA

Kettly Lemaistre, MSN, FNP, BSN, RN, PTA

Director of Nursing

With over 25 years of nursing experience, and five years of specialty work in the mental health and chemical dependence field, Kettly is passionate about helping those with mental health issues receive quality and ethical care. She has a master’s degree in nursing as a Family Nurse Practitioner and has also secured a diploma in Psychology, Social Work, and Behavior Analyst. She has experience in initiatives focused on improving clinical outcomes and improving patient and staff satisfaction. She is a nurse educator, mentor, and a preceptor to high school students who are interested in choosing healthcare as a career after graduation. Kettly enjoys lending a helping hand to those who are in need, confident that something positive will be learned from all experiences. She is proud of both of her grown children who have followed into the nursing profession.

David Duquette, PsyD

David Duquette, PsyD

Director of Quality Improvement & Utilization Review

Dr. Duquette, Director of Quality Improvement and Utilization Review at Lifeskills South Florida, earned his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Carlos Albizu University and completed his pre-doctoral internship at South Florida State Hospital. Prior to joining Lifeskills, he was the Utilization Review Manager at the largest community mental health center in Colorado, where he authorized all levels of mental health services for Medicaid consumers. He also brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in obtaining authorizations from private insurance companies.

Michelle Quilter, PsyD, CASAC, DBT-LBC, CSOTP

Michelle Quilter, PsyD, CASAC, DBT-LBC, CSOTP

Director of Dialectical Behavior Therapy Program

Michelle is the Director of the DBT program at Lifeskills South Florida and is intensively trained in DBT and has been utilizing this approach for over a decade in clinical practice. She earned her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Florida Institute of Technology, and a master’s degree in Community and Counseling Psychology from Marist College. She has held her certification as a Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor since 2006 and has received specialized training in both Forensic Psychology and Neuropsychology. She completed a dissertation on PTSD and TBI and possesses an interest in schizophrenia research, specifically regarding advances in pharmacological treatment. Dr. Quilter’s training has included working in an array of settings inclusive of inpatient hospitalization, emergency psychiatric care, substance abuse treatment centers, residential treatment, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient.

Dovid Kirzner, PsyD, DBT-Intensively Trained

Dovid Kirzner, PsyD, DBT-Intensively Trained

Primary Therapist

As a Primary Therapist, Dr. Kirzner is passionate about empowering his clients and providing a safe, supportive atmosphere for personal growth. He has extensive experience treating interpersonal problems, adjustment issues, behavioral disorders, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, autism and other developmental disabilities, and parenting issues. Dr. Kirzner also specializes in working with individuals with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), personality disorders, and marital issues. He earned his Master of Science and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Albizu University in Miami, Florida. He completed his APA accredited predoctoral internship at Nova Southeastern University’s Psychology Services Center, where he received specialized training and experience working with individuals with traumatic exposure and dissociative symptoms. Dr. Kirzner is committed to creating a collaborative therapeutic environment that is highly personalized to each individual’s unique values, culture, and faith or worldview. With this foundation for treatment, he utilizes various modalities to treat each client’s unique needs, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), positive psychology, psychodynamic, person-centered, and play therapy. Dr. Kirzner also enjoys integrating acceptance-based cognitive behavioral tools and mindfulness into his therapeutic work. Dr. Kirzner is also DBT-Intensively Trained through the Linehan Institute. Utilizing evidence-based interventions, he leverages the latest research findings to individualize treatment and optimize outcomes.

Drema Carpenter, PsyD

Drema Carpenter, PsyD

Primary Therapist

Dr. Drema Carpenter, PsyD. is a passionate scholar-practitioner in the field of clinical psychology. She is a Doctor of Psychology and has a Master of Counseling Psychology, receiving her degrees from the Florida Institute of Technology. She received her National Board for Certified Counselors in 2019 (NCC). She completed her clinical internship in West Palm Beach, Florida, specializing in trauma and completed her doctorate degree with a focus on trauma as well. Clinically, Dr. Drema has worked with a variety of traumatic backgrounds; first responders, trafficking history and sexual traumas, childhood traumas, and PTSD. She has presented on trauma in Palm Beach County to increase medical employees in school systems and educator’s awareness on the warning signs of present abuse. Her previous academic positions while working to obtain her doctorate degree at Florida Institute of Technology include; Research Assistant for the Veterans team, Practicum Committee on Senate, Membership Chair on Active Minds, Teacher’s Assistant for Clinical Skills, Graduate student professor for Intro to psychology, and trauma-focused, therapy coordinator for Eye of a Horse Equine-Assisted Therapy. Her experience and psychotherapeutic skills create a unique opportunity for exploration, insight, and dynamic growth for clients. In her off time, she is passionate about physical fitness and enjoys exercising, taking long walks with her Bernese Mountain dog, and relaxing at the beach reading a book. She loves the mountains and enjoys being out in nature.

Arthur Chen, PsyD, CCTP

Arthur Chen, PsyD, CCTP

Primary Therapist

Dr. Arthur Chen, Psy.D is a Licensed Psychologist in Florida. He has a Master of Applied Psychology with a specialization in Counseling and a Master of Clinical Psychology and a Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology. He completed his Clinical internship at Nova Southeastern University’s South Florida Consortium Internship Program and completed his Post-Doctoral experience at a private practice and the Renfrew Center in Coconut Creek, Florida. He has worked as a Primary Therapist for an eating disorder treatment center and a substance use treatment center. Clinically, he works with a wide-ranging population with first responders, persons with sexual traumas, complex PTSD, and childhood traumas. In addition to his years of experience working with eating disorders and substance abuse, Dr. Arthur has worked with patients with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and personality disorders. He is a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional overseeing the Trauma Clinical Pathway at Lifeskills South Florida. Dr. Arthur has also presented and lectured at psychology conferences throughout the United States. He is fluent in both English and Mandarin. In his off time, Dr. Arthur is an avid outdoorsman including a passion for automotive racing, motorcycling, and horseback riding. He has ridden horseback throughout the United States, South Africa, and Costa Rica. He is also passionate about giving back to the community and has volunteered with various charities in South Florida. He has been a Big Brother through the Big Brother Big Sister Program of America for the last 16 years. He was very honored to have been the nominee for the Men with Caring Hearts Outstanding Male Volunteer Award given by the Florence Fuller Child Development Centers, Boca Raton, FL in 2016.

Sandra Bernstein, LCSW, REBT-Trained

Sandra Bernstein, LCSW, REBT-Trained

Primary Therapist

With over 15 years of mental health and addiction experience, Sandra is a primary therapist providing individual, and group therapy utilizing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), MI, and Dialectal Behavioral Therapy (DBT) modalities and solution-focused techniques. She is an expert in CBT, working in exposure therapy especially with anxiety and mood issues. Sandra has worked in individual and group settings in outpatient mental health centers and residential levels of care. She has managed family counseling and outpatient programs monitoring the delivery of clinical services to youth and their families. She has also been a Qualified Clinical Supervisor providing clinical supervision to therapists for licensure. Sandy is REBT Trained through the Albert Ellis Institute. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Temple University and her Master of Social Work at Barry University.

Christine Quinn, LCSW, QS, DBT-Intensively Trained, EMDR-Trained

Christine Quinn, LCSW, QS, DBT-Intensively Trained, EMDR-Trained

Primary Therapist

Christine is a Primary Therapist at Lifeskills South Florida, with a broad range of experience in residential, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient programs. Her experience has also included providing therapeutic services to patients suffering from substance abuse and dual diagnosis disorders at Addiction Treatment Centers, Community Health Emergency Psychiatric Care Unit, and at a VA Medical Center. A Licensed Clinical Social Worker, she earned her Bachelor of Science degree at Palm Beach Atlantic University and an MSW from Florida Atlantic University. Christine is a nationally trained and certified EMDR therapist and is DBT Intensively Trained through the Linehan Institute. She uses a variety of evidence-based modalities, such as CBT, Motivational Interviewing, DBT, and MET, and EMDR, to provide the most effective interventions for clients and their families. Being solution-focused in her approach, Christine believes in empowering clients to take control of their lives.

Courtney Appel, MFT, DBT-Intensively Trained

Courtney Appel, MFT, DBT-Intensively Trained

Primary Therapist

Courtney is specialized in treating individuals with mental health issues using a Solution Focused Approach, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Family Systems Theory. Courtney is DBT Intensively Trained through the Linehan Institute. She is strength-based and considers the entire family system during her work with clients to optimize immediate and long-term successes. Courtney received her Undergraduate degree from The University of Florida in Psychology and received her master’s degree from Nova Southeastern University in Marriage and Family Therapy.

Ian Rosenberg, MS, DBT-Intensively Trained

Ian Rosenberg, MS, DBT-Intensively Trained

Primary Therapist

As a Primary Therapist and group faciliatory, Ian utilizes person-centered and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy to empower his clients to learn the importance of self-acceptance. Ian is DBT Intensively Trained through the Linehan Institute. He is responsible for facilitating the Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Male Trauma pathways at the Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), and helping clients along their continued journey through recovery. Ian has shown a tremendous interest in the treatment for trauma and PTSD, which has fueled his passion for DBT. He has remained intensively trained by the Behavioral Tech, A Linehan Institute training company, and utilizes his deep understanding of the conceptual model within individualized DBT coaching sessions, as well as in his skills training groups. He often uses mindfulness perspectives to help his clients become more in the present in their moment-to-moment experiences, in a non-judgmental way, to live life to the fullest potential. Ian has a master’s degree from Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, and has also attended Trenčianske Teplice Slovakia, at the International Committee of Adlerian Summer Schools and Institutes (ICASSI) where he learned the Adlerian concepts of Early Recollection with Substance Use Disorder and the conceptual model of neurosis.

Reid Boland, MS, REBT-Trained

Reid Boland, MS, REBT-Trained

Primary Therapist

As a Primary Therapist at Lifeskills South Florida, Reid brings a unique perspective to the clinical team. Reid earned his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Miami University and his Master of Science in Applied Psychology at Lynn University. Following an intensive clinical internship at Lifeskills South Florida, Reid has provided both case management support and clinical care. Reid is REBT (Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy) Trained through the Albert Ellis Institute in New York City. He has worked with both young adults and adult dual-diagnosis clients and also has an interest in social anxiety and personality disorders. Over the years, Reid has worked in several settings including as a studio engineer while working on Music Row in Nashville, TN.  Given Reid’s passion and musical expertise, he currently shares his office with the Lifeskills South Florida Outpatient Program’s music studio.

Ostin Celestin, LMHC, DBT-Intensively Trained, EMDR-Trained

Ostin Celestin, LMHC, DBT-Intensively Trained, EMDR-Trained

Associate Director of Family Services

Ostin came to Lifeskills South Florida with nearly a decade of experience in mental health, marriage and family therapy and substance abuse. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree from Florida A&M University, Ostin obtained his master’s degree from Barry University in Mental Health Counseling and Marriage & Family Therapy. He is a licensed Mental Health Counselor, licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, DBT-Intensively Trained through the Linehan Institute, and a nationally trained EMDR therapist. At Lifeskills, Ostin oversees the Family Programming as well as facilitates DBT skills-based groups.

Andrew Kosow, MS

Andrew Kosow, MS

Family Therapist

Andrew is a Family Therapist with vast experience in the mental health field. Focusing on solutions rather than problems in his therapeutic approach, he utilizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Family Systems Theory for both the clients and the families. At Lifeskills, Andrew provides family and group therapy and leads a weekly family alliance conference call for parents to learn from experts here at Lifeskills. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Emory University in Atlanta and recently graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Master of Science in mental health counseling at Lynn University in Boca Raton. Additionally, Andrew has a background in comedy writing which helps him utilize humor with the clients and their families.

Miguel Nerys, LMHC, NCC, DBT-Intensively Trained, EMDR-Trained

Miguel Nerys, LMHC, NCC, DBT-Intensively Trained, EMDR-Trained

Director of Outpatient Services

Miguel is the Director of Outpatient Services at Lifeskills South Florida, specializing in addiction and trauma. A Licensed Mental Health counselor and National Certified Counselor, he brings a wide array of experience from the mental health and addiction field. He earned both his undergraduate and master’s degree from Lynn University. Miguel is intensively trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy by The Linehan Institute and is a nationally trained EMDR therapist. He has worked in a trauma-specific unit of a community mental health organization dealing with abused children and their families and has also worked with active duty military at a psychiatric facility in North Carolina. He has mostly recently worked with relapsing clients that are treatment resistant. Miguel has traveled to Cambodia and Vietnam to establish a foundation for the poor and provide training on the western practice of psychology. Additionally, he has volunteered for the Big Brother Big Sister organization in providing child support in Boca Raton, Florida. In his spare time, he enjoys listening to a good TED Talk/Podcast and enjoys astronomy and photography.

Danielle Casey, LMHC, DBT-Intensively Trained, EMDR-Trained

Danielle Casey, LMHC, DBT-Intensively Trained, EMDR-Trained

Outpatient Primary Therapist

Danielle brings 20 years of experience in providing individual, couples and family therapy in various settings. As a Primary Therapist for our outpatient services, she works with our clients in a group and individual setting. She is a nationally trained EMDR therapist and is DBT Intensively Trained through the Linehan Institute. Danielle holds two master’s degrees from Lesley University and Columbia University with a concentration in both counseling and clinical psychology. She is also licensed in the state of Florida as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and is a qualified supervisor.

Karen Gauci, MPH, RD, LD

Karen Gauci, MPH, RD, LD

Nutritionist

Karen is the owner and president of 2001 Nutrition Services, Inc., a company with a philosophy of providing education and counseling in all areas related to nutrition. Karen is a licensed Dietitian and Nutritionist, with a master’s degree in Public Health. Her specialties include nutritional evaluation, advice and diet recommendations for weight management, chronic disease risk reduction, health promotion and wellness, sports nutrition, pediatrics, eating disorders, substance abuse, and psychiatric problems. She previously traveled around the world to train personal chefs in the preparation of foods low in fat, cholesterol, sodium, and sugar. She also helps in menu planning, label reading, and proper portion control. Not only is she the nutritionist at Lifeskills South Florida, but she is also a nutritional consultant at the Palm-Aire Spa Resort in Pompano Beach, Florida. Karen is the author of the cookbook, “Delicious Nutritious Spa Recipes from the Spa at Palm-Aire.” A few years ago, Karen wrote a program for large corporations to help lower their health cost entitled “Superitis, A 5 Star Plan for Better Health”. She is a frequent speaker at corporate conventions and has appeared in programs for Toyota, The American Cancer Society, and Northern Trust Bank. Karen works with professional athletes and has consulted for the NFL’s Chris Carter’s FAST Program to increase athletic performance.

Heather Wright, ISSA

Heather Wright, ISSA

Personal Trainer

Heather has worked in the fitness industry for over 28 years and has been a nationally certified personal trainer for the past 17 years. She specializes in weight management, endurance, strength, and sports specific training. The Metabolic Fitness groups that she facilitates at Lifeskills are specifically tailored to meet the needs of the individual client in weight loss, increasing strength, regaining balance and coordination, or improving flexibility. The goal is to make sure the clients fitness needs are met and to improve their overall self-esteem, health, and wellness. Increasing self-confidence, mind-body awareness and mastery of skill are at the heart of Heather’s’ work.

Residential

Joe Soutar, CRRA

Joe Soutar, CRRA

Director of Residential Operations

Born and educated in the U.K., Joe has worked extensively in an operations role in the mental health and substance abuse field. His experience includes working as a director for inpatient detox and crisis stabilization through every level in the continuum of care. As an advocate for spirituality through the 12-Step model, and simultaneous neutralization of co-occurring dual diagnosis profiles, Joe works passionately to advance the quality of support offered to each client he oversees. Joe has served as a line of communication between clinical staff and clients and has focused on cases of high acuity and chronic relapse. He has worked closely with the FARR certification body, as well as DCF and JCAHO, and has acted as an educator to direct care staff through training and management. Joe is a Certified Recovery Residence Administrator (CRRA) through the Crisis Prevention Institute in the safe management of disruptive behavior. Joe also assists in the management of the transitional living program at Osceola House. As a Residential Supervisor at Lifeskills, Joe has a desire to ensure that every client is set up for success in their treatment.

Ted Monticello, BS

Ted Monticello, BS

Osceola House Manager

As the Osceola House Manager, Ted focuses on assisting clients in developing a lifestyle of wellness and independence. He has over 22 years of experience and is well versed in multiple accreditation processes. Working in residential, PHP and Outpatient levels of care has allowed Ted to gain expertise in recovery, legal, case management, and programmatic issues. Ted graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Health and Fitness Management from Northern Michigan University. At Lifeskills South Florida, he brings a focus on supporting clients, building team, and teaching our clients skills for life.

John Mills

John Mills

PHP Supervisor

John is experienced in working with adults with severe traumatic brain injury, substance use disorder, and dual diagnosis. He began his career in the substance use/ mental health in 1989 in New England and held many roles throughout his career including Team Leader, Program Director and Director of Patient Care. In his previous role, John supervised the day-to-day operations of a large department consisting of 90 direct care staff and two recovery residences. He was also previously a Crisis Prevention Instructor and an Anger Management Facilitator. John is experienced in CARF accreditation and DCF licensure and is familiar with the 12 step Recovery Model. He is passionate about helping people with disabilities and ensuring they are treated with the utmost dignity and respect.

Bill Kovach

Bill Kovach

Daytime Residential Supervisor

As the Daytime Residential Supervisor, Bill utilizes his training in DBT interventions and crisis prevention while working one on one with clients fighting through adversity, resolving interpersonal conflicts that arise in residential treatment settings, and organizing the client community to appropriate participation, redirecting maladaptive behaviors. Ten years ago, he left a comfortable position at a business run by friends to pursue a passion for helping others. He has cared for individuals of all ages battling mental illness, substance abuse, dual diagnosis, and comorbid medical issues, and he has served as liaison to families. Bill was also the Director of Safety and Security at an adolescent mental health and substance abuse treatment facility. He is experienced with the licensing and accreditation process with DCF and JACOH. His goal is always to ensure that our clients are safe and to seamlessly coordinate with clinical staff to maximize the client’s treatment experience and promote healing.

Daniel Thacker

Daniel Thacker

Evening Shift Supervisor

Daniel Thacker lifeskills south florida staffDaniel came to Lifeskills South Florida in January 2010, with over 40 years of experience in the field of mental health and substance abuse. He has worked with Severely Emotionally Disturbed adolescents and developed group home programs with the Children’s Psychiatric Center in Miami. Daniel spent 18 years working at psychiatric hospitals in the Palm Beach County area before his arrival at Lifeskills South Florida. As the evening supervisor, he oversees our clients and ensures they are attending their needed outside meetings. As a former CPI instructor, he brings years of experience in the art of verbal de-escalation and the ability to assess those in need. Along with the evening shift, he also supervises our overnight shift and assists in the staff scheduling.

Christopher Costanzo

Christopher Costanzo

Weekend Shift Supervisor

Christopher Costanzo lifeskills south florida staffAfter graduating from Florida Atlantic University with a BA in Public Safety Administration, Chris joined the field of mental health and substance abuse in hopes of helping many. With five years of experience, Chris has worked at many levels of care. At Lifeskills, Chris works as the Weekend Residential Supervisor. In this position, he has a hands-on approach in planning weekend activities and engaging clients in treatment-related weekend groups. He is trained in the discipline of verbal de-escalation and CPR. Additionally, he is expanding his horizons in pursuit of additional certifications in the field. In other areas, Chris assists department needs by providing oversight to client finances, which also allows for an expansion in the life skills component of the treatment process. His goal is to ensure that all clients have the tools they require during the weekend, as a continuum for regular programming.

Leadership

Klay Weaver, LCSW

Klay Weaver, LCSW

Chief Executive Officer

With over 25 years of behavioral healthcare management experience, including over 18 years in executive leadership, Klay joined Lifeskills South Florida in 2015 as its Chief Executive Officer. Prior to joining Lifeskills, he served as the COO of Skyland Trail, where he oversaw the organization’s strategic growth, financial operations, clinical operations, and marketing. With roots in community mental health, Klay led two of the largest community mental health centers in the state of Georgia, providing services to over 17,000 individuals annually in 11 counties.

Klay received a Bachelor of Arts in Education and an M.Div. from Asbury Theological Seminary and an M.S.W. from the University of Kentucky. A licensed social worker for more than 20 years, he has enjoyed being active in the community serving on multiple non-profit boards including the Red Cross, Georgia Community Service Board Association, and most recently on the Delray Drug Task Force.

Daniel Bober, DO

Daniel Bober, DO

Medical Director

Dr. Bober attended medical school at Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his adult/child/adolescent psychiatry training at the Yale University School of Medicine and a fellowship in forensic psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts School of Medicine.

Dr. Bober served as a mental health policy fellow in the U.S. Senate through the American Psychiatric Association and the Yale University School of Medicine. While in Congress he championed the cause of veterans and active duty service members with mental illness. Dr. Bober currently holds a faculty appointment as an Assistant Clinical Professor at the Yale Child Study Center.

In treating adults, Dr. Bober’s clinical interest and expertise lay in working with individuals that have addiction, trauma and personality disorders. His is career has afforded him the opportunity to treat co-occurring disorders in inpatient, outpatient and research settings.

He is Board Certified in General Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and Forensic Psychiatry by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and he is certified in Obesity Medicine through the American Board of Obesity Medicine. Additionally, as a Diplomate of the American Board of Addiction Medicine, Dr. Bober is a Certified Addiction Medicine physician. He belongs to several professional societies including American Psychiatric Association, American Academy of Child, and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law and the American Society of Addiction Medicine.

DrBober.com

Sandra Prevost

Sandra Prevost

Human Resources Manager

Sandra comes to Lifeskills with over 15 years of experience in the field. Most recently, Sandra led the Human Resources function for a South Florida treatment center, supporting more than 500 employees. There she helped in the successful completion of Joint Commission Accreditation, as well as, all audits by the Department of Child and Family Services for three Florida locations and two locations in New Jersey. Sandra most enjoys employee relations and engagement. She is customer service oriented and takes pride in taking care of people who take care of the company and clients. Sandra holds a Bachelor’s of Science degree from NYIT and a Certification in Human Resource Management.

Admission

Sergio Muriel

Sergio Muriel

Admissions Director

Sergio is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, a Certified Addiction Professional, and is trained in EMDR. He has worked in the field of substance use and mental health for over 17 years. Sergio graduated from Florida Atlantic University with a master’s degree in Education, specializing in mental health and rehabilitation counseling. He is also a member of the Golden Key Honor Society. Throughout his career, Sergio has received several recognitions, including Sierra Tucson’s “Gratitude for Giving, Compassion Award” in 2016; “Above & Beyond” Award from Elements Behavioral Health in 2015; “Employee of the Year” from Miami-Dade County in 2007; “Appreciation Award”, Lindsey Hopkins Education Center-School Advisory Council in 2010; and “Appreciation Award”, Miami-Dade County, Mayor and Board of County Commissioners in 2009.

His passion and vision include helping individuals and families that have been affected by the disease of addiction and mental health. Having served in previous roles as Executive VP of Clinical Services, Executive Director, Admissions Director, Assistant Clinical Director, Primary Therapist, Judicial Services Coordinator, Family Therapist, and BHT Supervisor, Sergio brings extensive experience to his position. He is also fluent in English and Spanish.

Lara Eisenberg, MSW

Lara Eisenberg, MSW

Clinical Admissions Coordinator

For several years, Lara worked in a treatment setting with adults suffering from mental health and substance abuse dependency issues. Shortly after beginning her career at Lifeskills as a clinical intern, she was introduced to the clinical and admissions team. Her work at Lifeskills allows her the opportunity to work with clients and witness the transformation they make and the strength they have as they journey to recovery. Lara received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of South Florida followed by her Master of Social Work degree from Florida Atlantic University. She is also intensively trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy by The Linehan Institute. Lara looks to continue working in the field of Social Work and receiving her license as a Clinical Social Worker.

Bo Varga, MS

Bo Varga, MS

Clinical Admissions Coordinator

During Boglarka’s (Bo) year-long internship with Lifeskills in the Family Department, she served as a co-facilitator for the Intensive Family Weekend Workshop. Her experience also includes working with court-ordered cases, clients with addiction, mental health, and dual diagnoses. Bo has experience in and a passion for intervening and supporting clients and their families throughout difficult transitions. She is a graduate of Nova Southeastern University with a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Bo is driven to secure the best possible care for clients and to witness their success. She is also a fluent speaker of Hungarian.

Clinical

David Ockman, PsyD, CAP

David Ockman, PsyD, CAP

Clinical Director

Dr. Ockman, a licensed Psychologist, and Certified Addictions Professional, has worked in the field of mental health and addiction for more than 20 years, beginning his career in 1993. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from Florida International University, a Masters and Doctoral degrees from The Miami Institute of Psychology, and has been licensed as a Psychologist since 2002.

Dr. Ockman brings a broad range of experiences to his role at Lifeskills South Florida focused primarily on the Substance Use Disorder track which includes clinical, supervisory and administrative capacities in therapeutic/residential communities, hospital settings, IOP and state regulatory positions. He has spent most of his career utilizing CBT and MET modalities and finding ways to provide the most effective interventions for patients and their families.

Dr. Ockman spent seven years as one of the supervising Psychologists of interns and residents for an APPIC approved program. He was born and raised in South Florida and enjoys finding great places in Florida to take the family.

Krista Valz, PsyD

Krista Valz, PsyD

Associate Clinical Director

Dr. Valz is a licensed clinical psychologist and earned her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Her training has included individual and group work in a variety of settings including psychiatric care, outpatient mental health centers and residential levels of care. She completed her pre-doctoral internship at South Florida Evaluation and Treatment Center where her clinical focus was forensic psychology and worked at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, FL with a clinical concentration on neuropsychological testing. Dr. Valz is trained in Cognitive Remediation Therapy. At Lifeskills, she facilitates specialized groups for clients diagnosed with bipolar and psychotic disorders, schizoaffective disorder, and schizophrenia at both the residential and outpatient levels of care.

Kettly Lemaistre, MSN, FNP, BSN, RN, PTA

Kettly Lemaistre, MSN, FNP, BSN, RN, PTA

Director of Nursing

With over 25 years of nursing experience, and five years of specialty work in the mental health and chemical dependence field, Kettly is passionate about helping those with mental health issues receive quality and ethical care. She has a master’s degree in nursing as a Family Nurse Practitioner and has also secured a diploma in Psychology, Social Work, and Behavior Analyst. She has experience in initiatives focused on improving clinical outcomes and improving patient and staff satisfaction. She is a nurse educator, mentor, and a preceptor to high school students who are interested in choosing healthcare as a career after graduation. Kettly enjoys lending a helping hand to those who are in need, confident that something positive will be learned from all experiences. She is proud of both of her grown children who have followed into the nursing profession.

David Duquette, PsyD

David Duquette, PsyD

Director of Quality Improvement & Utilization Review

Dr. Duquette, Director of Quality Improvement and Utilization Review at Lifeskills South Florida, earned his Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Carlos Albizu University and completed his pre-doctoral internship at South Florida State Hospital. Prior to joining Lifeskills, he was the Utilization Review Manager at the largest community mental health center in Colorado, where he authorized all levels of mental health services for Medicaid consumers. He also brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in obtaining authorizations from private insurance companies.

Michelle Quilter, PsyD, CASAC, DBT-LBC, CSOTP

Michelle Quilter, PsyD, CASAC, DBT-LBC, CSOTP

Director of Dialectical Behavior Therapy Program

Michelle is the Director of the DBT program at Lifeskills South Florida and is intensively trained in DBT and has been utilizing this approach for over a decade in clinical practice. She earned her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology from Florida Institute of Technology, and a master’s degree in Community and Counseling Psychology from Marist College. She has held her certification as a Credentialed Alcohol and Substance Abuse Counselor since 2006 and has received specialized training in both Forensic Psychology and Neuropsychology. She completed a dissertation on PTSD and TBI and possesses an interest in schizophrenia research, specifically regarding advances in pharmacological treatment. Dr. Quilter’s training has included working in an array of settings inclusive of inpatient hospitalization, emergency psychiatric care, substance abuse treatment centers, residential treatment, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient.

Dovid Kirzner, PsyD, DBT-Intensively Trained

Dovid Kirzner, PsyD, DBT-Intensively Trained

Primary Therapist

As a Primary Therapist, Dr. Kirzner is passionate about empowering his clients and providing a safe, supportive atmosphere for personal growth. He has extensive experience treating interpersonal problems, adjustment issues, behavioral disorders, anxiety disorders, mood disorders, autism and other developmental disabilities, and parenting issues. Dr. Kirzner also specializes in working with individuals with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), personality disorders, and marital issues. He earned his Master of Science and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Albizu University in Miami, Florida. He completed his APA accredited predoctoral internship at Nova Southeastern University’s Psychology Services Center, where he received specialized training and experience working with individuals with traumatic exposure and dissociative symptoms. Dr. Kirzner is committed to creating a collaborative therapeutic environment that is highly personalized to each individual’s unique values, culture, and faith or worldview. With this foundation for treatment, he utilizes various modalities to treat each client’s unique needs, including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), positive psychology, psychodynamic, person-centered, and play therapy. Dr. Kirzner also enjoys integrating acceptance-based cognitive behavioral tools and mindfulness into his therapeutic work. Dr. Kirzner is also DBT-Intensively Trained through the Linehan Institute. Utilizing evidence-based interventions, he leverages the latest research findings to individualize treatment and optimize outcomes.

Drema Carpenter, PsyD

Drema Carpenter, PsyD

Primary Therapist

Dr. Drema Carpenter, PsyD. is a passionate scholar-practitioner in the field of clinical psychology. She is a Doctor of Psychology and has a Master of Counseling Psychology, receiving her degrees from the Florida Institute of Technology. She received her National Board for Certified Counselors in 2019 (NCC). She completed her clinical internship in West Palm Beach, Florida, specializing in trauma and completed her doctorate degree with a focus on trauma as well. Clinically, Dr. Drema has worked with a variety of traumatic backgrounds; first responders, trafficking history and sexual traumas, childhood traumas, and PTSD. She has presented on trauma in Palm Beach County to increase medical employees in school systems and educator’s awareness on the warning signs of present abuse. Her previous academic positions while working to obtain her doctorate degree at Florida Institute of Technology include; Research Assistant for the Veterans team, Practicum Committee on Senate, Membership Chair on Active Minds, Teacher’s Assistant for Clinical Skills, Graduate student professor for Intro to psychology, and trauma-focused, therapy coordinator for Eye of a Horse Equine-Assisted Therapy. Her experience and psychotherapeutic skills create a unique opportunity for exploration, insight, and dynamic growth for clients. In her off time, she is passionate about physical fitness and enjoys exercising, taking long walks with her Bernese Mountain dog, and relaxing at the beach reading a book. She loves the mountains and enjoys being out in nature.

Arthur Chen, PsyD, CCTP

Arthur Chen, PsyD, CCTP

Primary Therapist

Dr. Arthur Chen, Psy.D is a Licensed Psychologist in Florida. He has a Master of Applied Psychology with a specialization in Counseling and a Master of Clinical Psychology and a Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology. He completed his Clinical internship at Nova Southeastern University’s South Florida Consortium Internship Program and completed his Post-Doctoral experience at a private practice and the Renfrew Center in Coconut Creek, Florida. He has worked as a Primary Therapist for an eating disorder treatment center and a substance use treatment center. Clinically, he works with a wide-ranging population with first responders, persons with sexual traumas, complex PTSD, and childhood traumas. In addition to his years of experience working with eating disorders and substance abuse, Dr. Arthur has worked with patients with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and personality disorders. He is a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional overseeing the Trauma Clinical Pathway at Lifeskills South Florida. Dr. Arthur has also presented and lectured at psychology conferences throughout the United States. He is fluent in both English and Mandarin. In his off time, Dr. Arthur is an avid outdoorsman including a passion for automotive racing, motorcycling, and horseback riding. He has ridden horseback throughout the United States, South Africa, and Costa Rica. He is also passionate about giving back to the community and has volunteered with various charities in South Florida. He has been a Big Brother through the Big Brother Big Sister Program of America for the last 16 years. He was very honored to have been the nominee for the Men with Caring Hearts Outstanding Male Volunteer Award given by the Florence Fuller Child Development Centers, Boca Raton, FL in 2016.

Sandra Bernstein, LCSW, REBT-Trained

Sandra Bernstein, LCSW, REBT-Trained

Primary Therapist

With over 15 years of mental health and addiction experience, Sandra is a primary therapist providing individual, and group therapy utilizing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), MI, and Dialectal Behavioral Therapy (DBT) modalities and solution-focused techniques. She is an expert in CBT, working in exposure therapy especially with anxiety and mood issues. Sandra has worked in individual and group settings in outpatient mental health centers and residential levels of care. She has managed family counseling and outpatient programs monitoring the delivery of clinical services to youth and their families. She has also been a Qualified Clinical Supervisor providing clinical supervision to therapists for licensure. Sandy is REBT Trained through the Albert Ellis Institute. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at Temple University and her Master of Social Work at Barry University.

Christine Quinn, LCSW, QS, DBT-Intensively Trained, EMDR-Trained

Christine Quinn, LCSW, QS, DBT-Intensively Trained, EMDR-Trained

Primary Therapist

Christine is a Primary Therapist at Lifeskills South Florida, with a broad range of experience in residential, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient programs. Her experience has also included providing therapeutic services to patients suffering from substance abuse and dual diagnosis disorders at Addiction Treatment Centers, Community Health Emergency Psychiatric Care Unit, and at a VA Medical Center. A Licensed Clinical Social Worker, she earned her Bachelor of Science degree at Palm Beach Atlantic University and an MSW from Florida Atlantic University. Christine is a nationally trained and certified EMDR therapist and is DBT Intensively Trained through the Linehan Institute. She uses a variety of evidence-based modalities, such as CBT, Motivational Interviewing, DBT, and MET, and EMDR, to provide the most effective interventions for clients and their families. Being solution-focused in her approach, Christine believes in empowering clients to take control of their lives.

Courtney Appel, MFT, DBT-Intensively Trained

Courtney Appel, MFT, DBT-Intensively Trained

Primary Therapist

Courtney is specialized in treating individuals with mental health issues using a Solution Focused Approach, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Family Systems Theory. Courtney is DBT Intensively Trained through the Linehan Institute. She is strength-based and considers the entire family system during her work with clients to optimize immediate and long-term successes. Courtney received her Undergraduate degree from The University of Florida in Psychology and received her master’s degree from Nova Southeastern University in Marriage and Family Therapy.

Ian Rosenberg, MS, DBT-Intensively Trained

Ian Rosenberg, MS, DBT-Intensively Trained

Primary Therapist

As a Primary Therapist and group faciliatory, Ian utilizes person-centered and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy to empower his clients to learn the importance of self-acceptance. Ian is DBT Intensively Trained through the Linehan Institute. He is responsible for facilitating the Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) and Male Trauma pathways at the Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), and helping clients along their continued journey through recovery. Ian has shown a tremendous interest in the treatment for trauma and PTSD, which has fueled his passion for DBT. He has remained intensively trained by the Behavioral Tech, A Linehan Institute training company, and utilizes his deep understanding of the conceptual model within individualized DBT coaching sessions, as well as in his skills training groups. He often uses mindfulness perspectives to help his clients become more in the present in their moment-to-moment experiences, in a non-judgmental way, to live life to the fullest potential. Ian has a master’s degree from Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, and has also attended Trenčianske Teplice Slovakia, at the International Committee of Adlerian Summer Schools and Institutes (ICASSI) where he learned the Adlerian concepts of Early Recollection with Substance Use Disorder and the conceptual model of neurosis.

Reid Boland, MS, REBT-Trained

Reid Boland, MS, REBT-Trained

Primary Therapist

As a Primary Therapist at Lifeskills South Florida, Reid brings a unique perspective to the clinical team. Reid earned his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Miami University and his Master of Science in Applied Psychology at Lynn University. Following an intensive clinical internship at Lifeskills South Florida, Reid has provided both case management support and clinical care. Reid is REBT (Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy) Trained through the Albert Ellis Institute in New York City. He has worked with both young adults and adult dual-diagnosis clients and also has an interest in social anxiety and personality disorders. Over the years, Reid has worked in several settings including as a studio engineer while working on Music Row in Nashville, TN.  Given Reid’s passion and musical expertise, he currently shares his office with the Lifeskills South Florida Outpatient Program’s music studio.

Ostin Celestin, LMHC, DBT-Intensively Trained, EMDR-Trained

Ostin Celestin, LMHC, DBT-Intensively Trained, EMDR-Trained

Associate Director of Family Services

Ostin came to Lifeskills South Florida with nearly a decade of experience in mental health, marriage and family therapy and substance abuse. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree from Florida A&M University, Ostin obtained his master’s degree from Barry University in Mental Health Counseling and Marriage & Family Therapy. He is a licensed Mental Health Counselor, licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, DBT-Intensively Trained through the Linehan Institute, and a nationally trained EMDR therapist. At Lifeskills, Ostin oversees the Family Programming as well as facilitates DBT skills-based groups.

Andrew Kosow, MS

Andrew Kosow, MS

Family Therapist

Andrew is a Family Therapist with vast experience in the mental health field. Focusing on solutions rather than problems in his therapeutic approach, he utilizes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Family Systems Theory for both the clients and the families. At Lifeskills, Andrew provides family and group therapy and leads a weekly family alliance conference call for parents to learn from experts here at Lifeskills. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Emory University in Atlanta and recently graduated Summa Cum Laude with a Master of Science in mental health counseling at Lynn University in Boca Raton. Additionally, Andrew has a background in comedy writing which helps him utilize humor with the clients and their families.

Miguel Nerys, LMHC, NCC, DBT-Intensively Trained, EMDR-Trained

Miguel Nerys, LMHC, NCC, DBT-Intensively Trained, EMDR-Trained

Director of Outpatient Services

Miguel is the Director of Outpatient Services at Lifeskills South Florida, specializing in addiction and trauma. A Licensed Mental Health counselor and National Certified Counselor, he brings a wide array of experience from the mental health and addiction field. He earned both his undergraduate and master’s degree from Lynn University. Miguel is intensively trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy by The Linehan Institute and is a nationally trained EMDR therapist. He has worked in a trauma-specific unit of a community mental health organization dealing with abused children and their families and has also worked with active duty military at a psychiatric facility in North Carolina. He has mostly recently worked with relapsing clients that are treatment resistant. Miguel has traveled to Cambodia and Vietnam to establish a foundation for the poor and provide training on the western practice of psychology. Additionally, he has volunteered for the Big Brother Big Sister organization in providing child support in Boca Raton, Florida. In his spare time, he enjoys listening to a good TED Talk/Podcast and enjoys astronomy and photography.

Danielle Casey, LMHC, DBT-Intensively Trained, EMDR-Trained

Danielle Casey, LMHC, DBT-Intensively Trained, EMDR-Trained

Outpatient Primary Therapist

Danielle brings 20 years of experience in providing individual, couples and family therapy in various settings. As a Primary Therapist for our outpatient services, she works with our clients in a group and individual setting. She is a nationally trained EMDR therapist and is DBT Intensively Trained through the Linehan Institute. Danielle holds two master’s degrees from Lesley University and Columbia University with a concentration in both counseling and clinical psychology. She is also licensed in the state of Florida as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and is a qualified supervisor.

Karen Gauci, MPH, RD, LD

Karen Gauci, MPH, RD, LD

Nutritionist

Karen is the owner and president of 2001 Nutrition Services, Inc., a company with a philosophy of providing education and counseling in all areas related to nutrition. Karen is a licensed Dietitian and Nutritionist, with a master’s degree in Public Health. Her specialties include nutritional evaluation, advice and diet recommendations for weight management, chronic disease risk reduction, health promotion and wellness, sports nutrition, pediatrics, eating disorders, substance abuse, and psychiatric problems. She previously traveled around the world to train personal chefs in the preparation of foods low in fat, cholesterol, sodium, and sugar. She also helps in menu planning, label reading, and proper portion control. Not only is she the nutritionist at Lifeskills South Florida, but she is also a nutritional consultant at the Palm-Aire Spa Resort in Pompano Beach, Florida. Karen is the author of the cookbook, “Delicious Nutritious Spa Recipes from the Spa at Palm-Aire.” A few years ago, Karen wrote a program for large corporations to help lower their health cost entitled “Superitis, A 5 Star Plan for Better Health”. She is a frequent speaker at corporate conventions and has appeared in programs for Toyota, The American Cancer Society, and Northern Trust Bank. Karen works with professional athletes and has consulted for the NFL’s Chris Carter’s FAST Program to increase athletic performance.

Heather Wright, ISSA

Heather Wright, ISSA

Personal Trainer

Heather has worked in the fitness industry for over 28 years and has been a nationally certified personal trainer for the past 17 years. She specializes in weight management, endurance, strength, and sports specific training. The Metabolic Fitness groups that she facilitates at Lifeskills are specifically tailored to meet the needs of the individual client in weight loss, increasing strength, regaining balance and coordination, or improving flexibility. The goal is to make sure the clients fitness needs are met and to improve their overall self-esteem, health, and wellness. Increasing self-confidence, mind-body awareness and mastery of skill are at the heart of Heather’s’ work.

Residential

Joe Soutar, CRRA

Joe Soutar, CRRA

Director of Residential Operations

Born and educated in the U.K., Joe has worked extensively in an operations role in the mental health and substance abuse field. His experience includes working as a director for inpatient detox and crisis stabilization through every level in the continuum of care. As an advocate for spirituality through the 12-Step model, and simultaneous neutralization of co-occurring dual diagnosis profiles, Joe works passionately to advance the quality of support offered to each client he oversees. Joe has served as a line of communication between clinical staff and clients and has focused on cases of high acuity and chronic relapse. He has worked closely with the FARR certification body, as well as DCF and JCAHO, and has acted as an educator to direct care staff through training and management. Joe is a Certified Recovery Residence Administrator (CRRA) through the Crisis Prevention Institute in the safe management of disruptive behavior. Joe also assists in the management of the transitional living program at Osceola House. As a Residential Supervisor at Lifeskills, Joe has a desire to ensure that every client is set up for success in their treatment.

Ted Monticello, BS

Ted Monticello, BS

Osceola House Manager

As the Osceola House Manager, Ted focuses on assisting clients in developing a lifestyle of wellness and independence. He has over 22 years of experience and is well versed in multiple accreditation processes. Working in residential, PHP and Outpatient levels of care has allowed Ted to gain expertise in recovery, legal, case management, and programmatic issues. Ted graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Health and Fitness Management from Northern Michigan University. At Lifeskills South Florida, he brings a focus on supporting clients, building team, and teaching our clients skills for life.

John Mills

John Mills

PHP Supervisor

John is experienced in working with adults with severe traumatic brain injury, substance use disorder, and dual diagnosis. He began his career in the substance use/ mental health in 1989 in New England and held many roles throughout his career including Team Leader, Program Director and Director of Patient Care. In his previous role, John supervised the day-to-day operations of a large department consisting of 90 direct care staff and two recovery residences. He was also previously a Crisis Prevention Instructor and an Anger Management Facilitator. John is experienced in CARF accreditation and DCF licensure and is familiar with the 12 step Recovery Model. He is passionate about helping people with disabilities and ensuring they are treated with the utmost dignity and respect.

Bill Kovach

Bill Kovach

Daytime Residential Supervisor

As the Daytime Residential Supervisor, Bill utilizes his training in DBT interventions and crisis prevention while working one on one with clients fighting through adversity, resolving interpersonal conflicts that arise in residential treatment settings, and organizing the client community to appropriate participation, redirecting maladaptive behaviors. Ten years ago, he left a comfortable position at a business run by friends to pursue a passion for helping others. He has cared for individuals of all ages battling mental illness, substance abuse, dual diagnosis, and comorbid medical issues, and he has served as liaison to families. Bill was also the Director of Safety and Security at an adolescent mental health and substance abuse treatment facility. He is experienced with the licensing and accreditation process with DCF and JACOH. His goal is always to ensure that our clients are safe and to seamlessly coordinate with clinical staff to maximize the client’s treatment experience and promote healing.

Daniel Thacker

Daniel Thacker

Evening Shift Supervisor

Daniel Thacker lifeskills south florida staffDaniel came to Lifeskills South Florida in January 2010, with over 40 years of experience in the field of mental health and substance abuse. He has worked with Severely Emotionally Disturbed adolescents and developed group home programs with the Children’s Psychiatric Center in Miami. Daniel spent 18 years working at psychiatric hospitals in the Palm Beach County area before his arrival at Lifeskills South Florida. As the evening supervisor, he oversees our clients and ensures they are attending their needed outside meetings. As a former CPI instructor, he brings years of experience in the art of verbal de-escalation and the ability to assess those in need. Along with the evening shift, he also supervises our overnight shift and assists in the staff scheduling.

Christopher Costanzo

Christopher Costanzo

Weekend Shift Supervisor

Christopher Costanzo lifeskills south florida staffAfter graduating from Florida Atlantic University with a BA in Public Safety Administration, Chris joined the field of mental health and substance abuse in hopes of helping many. With five years of experience, Chris has worked at many levels of care. At Lifeskills, Chris works as the Weekend Residential Supervisor. In this position, he has a hands-on approach in planning weekend activities and engaging clients in treatment-related weekend groups. He is trained in the discipline of verbal de-escalation and CPR. Additionally, he is expanding his horizons in pursuit of additional certifications in the field. In other areas, Chris assists department needs by providing oversight to client finances, which also allows for an expansion in the life skills component of the treatment process. His goal is to ensure that all clients have the tools they require during the weekend, as a continuum for regular programming.

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